Data Strategy

What Is Data Governance?

What is data governance? Learn all about this framework and how to implement it with distributed teams to ensure maximum data efficiency.

Establishing a solid data governance framework is crucial for any business aiming to scale its operations consistently. While this requires a certain level of planning, as well as significant time and effort, effective data governance ensures that data remains accurate and safe, facilitating decision-making and operational integrity. As you transition into new operations or team distributions, the challenge of managing data usually increases, making strong data governance even more essential for the future of your company. At ACL, we have years of experience facilitating data management systems and have decided to dive into the vital components of data governance to provide a detailed guide on implementing these practices. Whether you are just starting to craft a data governance plan or looking to refine existing procedures, these insights will equip you with the knowledge to manage your data effectively and - if needed - implement and master data governance strategy across a distributed team.

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Data Governance Definition

Data governance is essential for any organization to ensure its data is accurate, accessible, consistent, and secure at all times. This framework involves a set of procedures and policies aimed at managing and formalizing the handling of an organization's data throughout its lifecycle. This includes integrating master data management to maintain uniformity in key data assets like customer and product information across all business units, which boosts operational efficiency and aids decision-making. To back up the importance of a solid data governance strategy, Gartner reports that poor data quality results in an average annual loss of $15 million for businesses, showing the significant impact that data governance can have on a company's bottom line. By fostering a culture of accountability and consistency in data management, businesses not only comply with key regulations like GDPR and HIPAA but also enhance their decision-making processes - ultimately driving growth and improving customer satisfaction through reliable and insightful data analytics.

Why Is Data Governance Relevant For Business?

data governance facts

Data governance is crucial for businesses today because it ensures that all company data is accurate, accessible, and securely managed. This system defines who can take action, with what information, and under what circumstances. Without it, your data can become unreliable and your team might make some pretty costly mistakes along the way.

As we mentioned, compliance with regulations such as GDPR in the EU, HIPAA in the US, and other global data protection laws isn't just a good practice but a requirement to do business. Data governance frameworks help companies meet these regulations and avoid hefty fines. With a solid data governance policy, businesses benefit from high-quality data that is consistent and trustworthy. Decision-makers can rely on this data to make informed choices that propel the company forward, rather than making decisions based on inaccurate or outdated information. According to a survey by KPMG, more than 84% of CEOs are concerned about the quality of the data they're basing their decisions on, making it clear that proper frameworks need to be set up to ensure business scalability.

Data breaches not only lead to direct financial losses but also affect a company’s reputation. Data governance includes security protocols that protect sensitive information from unauthorized access and data leaks. Considering that IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report highlighted that the average data breach costs $3.86 million, implementing better data practices has become a true necessity for modern businesses. Master data management, a key component of data governance, also ensures that all organizational data is consistent and accurate across all systems. This uniformity reduces errors and redundancies that typically slow down business processes and lead to additional costs. Well-governed data reduces the risk of operational mishaps and enhances overall efficiency.

Top 8 Benefits of Data Governance

1. Improved Data Quality

Data governance ensures high data quality by establishing rigorous standards and protocols for data entry, maintenance, and management. This means you can trust the data you use, which is needed for accurate analytics and reporting as well as for key business decisions.

2. Enhanced Data Security

A core aspect of data governance involves implementing security measures that protect sensitive information from unauthorized access and breaches. With data breaches costing companies an average of $3.86 million securing your data is the only way to prevent catastrophic monetary and operational losses.

3. Regulatory Compliance

Data governance frameworks help businesses comply with various international regulations such as GDPR and HIPAA. Compliance isn’t only about avoiding fines but also about maintaining your company’s integrity and client trust.

4. Efficient Data Management

Centralized control over data policies and procedures under a data governance program leads to more streamlined and efficient data management. This eliminates redundancies and inconsistencies, saving time and reducing confusion when drafting reports, rounding up KPIs, or deciding on the best way to move forward.

5. Better Decision-Making

When data is accurate, complete, and timely, decision-making becomes more informed and effective. High-quality data provides a solid foundation for drawing insights and strategic business decisions.

6. Revenue Gains

Good data governance can directly impact revenue generation. With clean, organized data, you can identify and capitalize on new opportunities, improve customer satisfaction, and streamline operations - all contributing to increased earnings for your organization.

7. Major Risk Mitigation

By maintaining data integrity and implementing proper controls, especially if leveraging managed data services, data governance reduces the risks associated with data handling and individual use. This proactive approach minimizes potential losses and project delays caused by data errors and cybersecurity breaches.

8. Improved Reputation & Business Value

Companies known for their good data governance are often viewed as more reliable and trustworthy, and this is certainly something you can leverage at sales calls or as part of your organization’s value proposition. This reputation for managing data responsibly way can lead to better customer relationships, partner opportunities, and industry standing while increasing your overall business value. 

Key Components of a Data Governance Framework

1. Data Stewardship

Data stewards play a vital role and are central to any data governance framework, They’re responsible for overseeing data accuracy, accessibility, consistency, and security. Assigning data stewards ensures that someone with expertise and accountability upkeps the data’s health and policy adherence.

2. Data Policies and Standards

Creating and enforcing data policies and standards is essential for maintaining the quality and integrity of data. These guidelines should cover how data is collected, stored, processed, and disposed of, ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements.

3. Data Quality Management

To benefit from high-quality business decisions, your data must be of high quality first. This component focuses on continuous monitoring and cleansing of data to meet the organization's standards for accuracy, completeness, and reliability.

4. Data Security

Protecting sensitive data from unauthorized access is a non-negotiable aspect of any data governance plan. Security measures must be robust and compliant with global standards, protecting against both external breaches and internal misuse.

5. Compliance Management

Given the ever-changing landscape of regulations, a dynamic compliance management process is indispensable. This ensures that all data practices are up-to-date with legal obligations and your company does not run into blockers caused by a lack of compliance.

6. Master Data Management

Master data management consolidates critical data into a single point of reference. This helps ensure consistency and control across the business, making operations more streamlined and reducing errors.

7. Data Architecture

Even the smallest overarching details of the underlying structure of your data environment, including storage, optimization, databases, and access paths, must be strategically designed to support governance activities. This carefully curated data architecture is meant to facilitate the easy flow and management of data throughout the entire project lifecycle.

8. Metadata Management

Managing metadata involves documenting data sources, usage, and formats, which enhances transparency and control. This clarity allows users to understand metrics and data lineage clearly, supporting better analytics and decision-making.

9. Performance Measurement

Finally, to better analyze the success of your data governance efforts, implementing performance metrics is crucial. These help assess how effectively data governance policies enhance data quality, compliance, and business operations.

Embedding these components into your data governance framework ensures a strong, future-proof foundation for managing your organization’s data assets more effectively. This approach improves current operations while allowing your processes to scale for future growth and challenges, solidifying your company’s well-being in any data-driven business environment.

Imagenp-home copia-1Does Your Business Need Data Services?

Data governance will long remain a key component of operational success and corporate integrity, especially if your organization is transitioning to a remote development team. Setting data governance as a top priority can protect your data assets and improve your business's capacity for operational efficiency, security compliance, and optimized decision-making. At ACL, we understand that implementing this process requires a certain time and effort, and that’s why we offer nearshore data services to facilitate the solutions your business needs the most. Our nearshore IT services are cost-efficient and time-saving, allowing you to focus on core business functions as our remote team works on your projects. If you’re ready to get started with the data governance framework, contact us today to learn more about how we can help your organization!

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